Monday, October 20, 2014

Minnesota River Congress - 9/16/14 Bloomington Listening Session Raw Individual and Collective Table Responses

Minnesota River Congress
Listening Session Bloomington
Raw Individual and Table Responses
16 total participants

Question 1 if a new basin wide citizen led entity were to be formed, how could it best add value to current localized efforts to protect and enhance natural resources, improve water quality, or expand and diversify recreational use or appreciation of the Minnesota River Watershed and its Tributaries?

Raw Individual responses, each bullet is an individual response

·        As a user, who to call or email if I see a problem.  Water concerns
·        Provide a forum for sharing information-positive stories about things that are working well in the basin.
·        The entity I envision is one like the Basin Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee in the Red River Valley-consisting only of subject matter experts-to do the research and provide the science required to achieve the goals in the question.
·        The entity could provide information on funding resources, connection to others who have completed projects that could help others get started on similar projects.  Provide information on recreation and other related events about and around the river.
·        Blueways, Scott Sparlin, Ted Suss.
·        It would show a uniform desire along the whole basin.  It could help establish universal goals/ rules governing use and protection of the river and the Basin.
·        Promote identity and concept of the real River Watershed/Valley.
·        Provide a way for interested individuals and groups to connect and “leverage” one another via projects events etc.
·        Some type of entity may allow for fund-raising, grants etc. to support water quality, tourism, economic development etc.
·        The entity could serve as a clearing house for a variety of individual peoples.  Collect interesting ideas present and then make available to other groups or agencies.
·        Minnesota Basin Farmer Mentor Alliance.  Will lead to widespread retention and restoration of the soil resource on the land.
·        It could add value to local efforts by being political and independently/privately funded.  Funding not dependent on pubic dollars.
·        Involve kids in learning about watersheds (what they are, what they do for us) and then engaging (the Minnesota Valley) in some way such as hiking, birding, vegetation study.   Could be schools, scouts, church youth groups.
·        Organization/Entity must be rooted in concept of active citizenship and collaborative governance.  Without higher purpose it could become mired in silo politics (like MN River Board) entity could exist as an institute with these purposes.  Help citizens share and address challenges.  Ensure accountability to/with goals.  Organize other citizens to active citizenship=BMP’s.
·        To provide resources add support to local efforts in their dealings with local governments, NGO’s, State Government and private enterprises to further achieve all these objectives.
·        By identifying priority areas in the watershed where resources should be focused.  Is that possible? Is this better than local groups vying for resources on their own?

 Question 2. 

If a new Basin-wide (Watershed Wide) citizen led entity was to be formed, what sorts of activities should it undertake to add value to our current situation?

Raw individual responses, each bullet represents an individual response.

·        Coordinate gatherings and meet ups for practitioners of land management to connect and support each other.  Meetings and horizontal knowledge transfer.
·        Connect kids with people who know and understand the Minnesota River Watershed and set up dialog and 2 way conversations, including fishermen, hunters, farmers, birders, scientists, governing bodies, non-profits, etc.  To co-mingle ideas, understandings and perspectives.
·        Planning to action to accountability for everyone.  Help citizens with designing effective convening processes, deep networking, and organizing actions.  Network with people who are getting work done.
·        Outreach to service organizations, educational institutions and religious bodies to include them in the activities that this organization is involved in, such as public forums, projects as well as learning projects.
·        Identify and recruit local participants, community organizing model.  Locals will also be able to help Identify potential problems and projects.  Locally based sport events, heritage sites, tours etc.
·        Periodic sessions to allow all to keep abreast of ideas happenings, problems.  Funding sources by and for various groups in the basin, would allow for high levels of interest.
·        Data collection and dissemination, and a social media gathering place i.e. Minnesota River Basin Data Center.
·        Create information center, contacts, calendar of events, funding resources, other resources, and success stories.  Convene meetings to do things such as review data, prioritize projects.  Hold events to help connect individuals, businesses, and organizations.
·        Advertise and promote.
·        Education, education, education.  The value could be the long term result of education the public on the resource of the basin.  Wildlife, recreation and agriculture.
·        Basin-wide conference featuring local group activities.  Regional events/tours, to focus on specific project areas such as Ag, urban, river recreation, etc.
·        Events, tourism development and networking sessions.  Individuals, organizations, agencies share activities and lots of open networking and coordination of research.  Projects cross-agency/organizations and funding.  Promote partnership and cooperation, more unity in actions.
·        Marketing outreach to build “consumer” support for Minnesota River.

Question 3.  If a new Watershed wide citizen-led entity were to be formed, how could it best assist existing organizations, (NGO’s, governing bodies) in achieving their goals?

 Raw individual responses, each bullet represents and individual response.

·        Could it fill a need to help get things done where an existing organization is trying but is so far not effective?
·        Coordinate tours or publicize highlighting positive work done in the watershed.  Also publicize areas that should be a priority.
·        Provide training and assistance to these organizations to assist them in cleaning and preserving the river watershed.  To supply information that is requested so to allow them to make knowledgeable decisions.
·        Data center could help small organizations and units of government with maintaining up to date information on the internet.
·        Provide networking and information clearing house opportunities.
·        Helping to facilitate coordination and collaborations and leveraging each others resources and agendas and purposes.  Being a loud speaker, promoting existing efforts.
·        Be aware of what is happening with the various organizations so it can share success stories, information and connections to help kick start similar projects that other organizations want to do and make it easier for them to succeed.  Entity can see overlap/similarities with groups and connect them to help save money and time also.
·        Sharing information/data, explaining the different needs, desires of these organizations.  Create a common voice that helps enhance the organizations goals.
·        Help the NGO’s, government see the big picture.  Put what ever they are doing in context and reduce the likelihood they will screw something up and get all defensive and work to protect their image (butts).  Prevention worth a pound of cure instead of fixing the result of narrow thinking.
·        Erode the mindset that change needs a government incentive program.  Ask the question, how would you change if existing government Ag programs disappeared.
·        The entity should participate in evaluation sessions to put emphasis on success or failures of existing agencies and organizations.  We all do this individually and perhaps in those thoughts their may be value to those groups.
·        Could organize people around addressing barriers to getting work done on the ground. (policies, procedures, funding)  Stand up to agencies and legislature.  Not advocacy which produces winners and losers, but for the common good of society.
·        Non-threatening but confrontational and assertive?  Knowledge of the basin issues, best practice concepts, expertise.  People could be credible but not affiliated.
 Question 4.  How should existing units of government, State, and Federal agencies, NGO’s, other communities of interest such as agri-business, businesses, farm organizations, be represented or involved in a new citizen-led entity?

Raw individual responses, each bullet represents and individual response.
·        Other units can be involved in joint operations, the new entity can assist other organizations in tasks they are already undertaking that further their own objectives.  And we should be willing to adapt the assistance of other organizations in tasks that we are working on.  In a way this does not diminish our ability to further our objectives later on.  As for representation in a citizen led entity, it should be limited to individuals.  But that could change if they are willing to really listen to these organizations and give them thorough considerations.
·        We are all citizens.  All need to be involved as equals.  To think we could work effectively, separated is ridiculous.  We all must co-govern for the common good.
·        Need to find out what about watersheds calls for a response that is good for all.  Maybe through “what if” scenarios.  Maybe through putting some “what do you want life to be like for grand kids”?   All need to be involved in the conversation.  The entity needs to realize how they all have skin in the game.
·        Once a goal has been established then step 2.  What could each agency, organization offer to that goal.  Step 3, seek input in that specific area from that group (facts are facts).  Step 4; combine these sources of information to make findings.
·        Everybody needs to be represented equally (so each group has a voice).  Term limits are important so we get a fresh voice.  This may be a tall order to mesh these groups.
·        Should be open and inclusive to all the named groups.  All groups should be recruited actively.  It will be a free for all for a while, but they will eventually settle down.
·        Provide funds for a citizen led entity to meet, interact, and solve problems without government incentive or businesses trying to sell us their products.
·        They all need to have input.  If any group is left out, then there cannot be a consensus of action.  I really don’t know how you do that.
·        All should be invited to meetings to provide their input.  Government can be invited to provide data and technical information and be aware of the work of the entity.  There is probably a need for some sort of citizen board that helps direct the entity.  It should include representatives from the various interests in the watershed.
·        As citizens, called MRP the Minnesota River Partnership.
·        Government, Federal, State, should not be involved.  NGO’s and local citizens cannot lead if government overruns them.
·        Geographically…Sub-regions of the basin have citizen representation (even if professional affiliation), It’s not the hat they wear.  Who represents for that region’s people-government, business, farm, NGO’s.

Question 5.  Should a new inclusive basin wide (watershed wide) citizen-led entity be formed it could accomplish the suggestions brought forth tonight?

Raw individual responses, each bullet represents and individual response.

·        Yes, let’s keep meeting as an alliance
·        Yes, It could enhance all the work of the individual organizations in the basin
·        Yes, if it could be formed in a way that is not a financial burden to existing organizations, but rather adds value to existing organizations.
·        An idea, the legacy amendment brought together a wide variety of organizations to accomplish a common goal.  We don’t need entities so much as we need ideas.  Here’s one, full funding for the Minnesota River Basin Data Center.
·        Yes, if no existing authority would be able to accomplish the ideas brought forth.
·        Yes, it needs some sort of structure and money.  Hopeful that these sessions will start that.
·        Yes, we should prioritize tasks do to the aspect of important issues of previous groups. (Erosion).
·        Yes, only if it can be a unique organization that doesn’t duplicate what is being done already.  What needs to change from a predecessor so it doesn’t fail?
·        Yes, but only if it includes all people and entities.

·        Don’t know; don’t have exposure level to organizations/agencies etc. out there.  At minimum, ideas we talked about need to be given a hearing in existing organizations.
·        I would say no if we can’t see that we are all citizens, no matter if we are from government or not.  We need to get beyond the “us vs. them” mindset.  We cannot get work done dividing ourselves.
·        Yes, if it can provide something that is not already being done to improve the watershed.
·        Yes, if in service to other entities in the watershed.  If it can be a value-additive to those entities and activities and missions.

There were 10 yes with some having conditions.  There were 2 no, 1 maybe, 1 doesn’t know, 2 people left early with other commitments.

Question 1. Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Get common scientific data that creates a common (uniform) set of goals throughout the basin.  Helps create accountability in the basin, information sharing.
·        Several arms to main entity, apolitical, citizenship, supporting existing groups, farmer mentors, forum, prioritization, clearing house.

Question 2.  Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Several arms to main entity, good work publicized, connections kids with all age groups, recruit local enthusiasts, horizontal knowledge transfer, citizen engagement innovations, including many groups, meet ups to share ideas.
·        Education about the value of the river, information sharing, annual and regional meetings to share what they are doing, data center.  Basin-wide to inform different areas about each other.

Question 3.  Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Organization to keep track and publicize of what everyone is doing.  It would drive basin-wide coordination through communications.  Would work in service to the existing organizations.
·        Several arms to main entity, human trust establish relationships, credibility with knowledge, info and training, purposeful community organizing, non-confrontational.

Question 4 Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Several arms to main entity, actively recruit and exclude no one, except as fact the information from groups, develop an understanding why some level of consensus is needed, equal representation from all groups and have term limits, willing to work in cooperation with the organization, organize groups around long term funding for this work.
·        Input from all is essential, non participants may undermine, involve all as citizens.  Government invited to provide technical information and awareness, government non-voting.  Minnesota River Partnership.  Possible geographic representation.

Question 5 Table responses, each bullet represents one table response.

·        Yes, if adding value to other watershed entities, enhancing their work.  One that does not burden what exists already.  Helps with idea generation and furthering work.  Using organizational best practices.
·        Yes, avoid redundancy